Letter: OPP exterminator defends work

Your recent stories concerning DA Exterminating Co. and our treatment of the Orleans Parish Prison amount to a manipulation of facts to push an agenda against Sheriff Marlin Gusman. The stories are replete with inaccurate figures, innuendo and an intentional lack of context.

DA Exterminating has been servicing Orleans Parish Prison since 2001, when Charles Foti was sheriff. Marlin Gusman kept us on to service the 20-plus buildings because of the quality work we perform. These buildings are old, with conditions that are conducive to roaches, rodents, bed bugs and yes, scorpions.

You need no imagination to know why Sheriff Gusman is building a new prison facility, in part to provide a better facility that does not promote a habitat for insect pests and rodents. This fact has been clearly demonstrated by a reduction in our services each time one of the prison buildings has been demolished.

The monthly amount we bill Sheriff Gusman for pest control services is less than was being billed under the Foti administration. There is a difference in the monthly amount billed for ongoing pest control services, and what a given year’s total billings might include. Not mentioned in these stories are additional services for termite treatments, annual inspections of the buildings for termites, which are required by state regulations and a massive bed bug project that was glossed over in the “story” on scorpions. The latter required an enormous amount of labor and man hours to perform the work properly, while working around the prison population. Our successful eradication of the bed bug infestation saved Sheriff Gusman from having to discard and purchase new mattresses, bed linens and prison population clothing.

Finally, can we please drop the “DA charges 43 times more for pest control at OPP than is being charged in Jefferson Parish.” Your comparison is sinister, as there are no comparable features. The Jefferson Parish Prison is quite new and considerably smaller than Orleans Parish Prison . Servicing a single building once a month in Jefferson Parish is one thing, treating a sprawling prison complex three times a week is quite another. And trust us, disease- and bacteria-carrying insect pests and rodents would run rampant if we were only called out for one or two hours a month to control them.

DA Exterminating is a family-owned business which started in 1959. It has grown over the past 50-plus years because of hard work and devotion to our customers. We are proud of the superior service that has been provided at Orleans Parish Prison since 2001.

Jed D’Arensbourg, president

DA Exterminating Co. Inc.